Each record has a time, a place, and a season. I'm constantly refreshing my playlist, my cd booklet, and pulling out new records depending on my mood, the weather, and who I'm with. Right now summer is departing us, now we are at the time of harvest. The sun is bright into the evenings, and the air is brisk in the mornings and the fog is slowly returning. It's time to change over to an autumn collection of music, but before that here's my top 5 records of the summer. I'm the guy that has to have the perfect song in the player before I even think of putting the car in gear. I know you may hate that guy, but at least he's not going to steer you into the future with stale radio in the speakers. I would never put you through that.
Great albums are amazing from start to finish. There can't be any filler. If I read a book I'm not expecting that there will be some chapters don't really don't hold my attention as much as the rest of the book. It just ruins the flow. That's one reason why I love vinyl, and cds. I don't do digital. I don't buy from iTunes. You wont find me downloading it. I'm shamelessly old school. I want to see the artwork, and hear the whole album, not just the single. I want the hiss of the hi-hat on that needle. If it's worth listening to then I'll take the time to go out to the record store and buy it. But I digress.
I've scoured my vinyl collection, seeking out the albums that speak to me most this summer as true "summer" records. These are the albums I've been listening to on road trips to and from the coast, through the fields of the Willamette Valley as the crops ripen, nearly ready for harvest, or when I'm sitting at home watching the sun, fade into the Western sky for the evening. I'm sure you'll recognize an album or two that you know by heart, and possibly a record you haven't heard just yet.
Pavement - Terror Twilight - 1999 - Matador
When I was in high school I remember buying this album on recommendation from some girls at a acting competition. I was just discovering indie rock music, I was seeking out bands from beyond what was on mainstream radio, and this is an album that grows on me each time I hear it. Malkmus' quirky lyrics, and guitar solos set the stage for a very creative and expansive record. There are so many gems on this album! Beautifully recorded and written, this is still my favorite Pavement album. Key tracks: Spit on a Stranger, Major Leagues, Speak See Remember, Carrot Rope.
Malkmus is honestly the funniest guy to watch in a music video, too goofy to not make you smile.
"Carrot Rope" music video:
Brendan Benson - Lapalco - 2002 (2011 vinyl re-release) - Startime/V2
When I found out one of my favorite pop albums had been reissued for vinyl this May I couldn't resist. This album is amazing to say the least, and by far my favorite release by Benson (who also fronts The Raconteurs alongside Jack White). This is a thoughtful Indie rock with warm lyrics about boyhood crushes, catchy chorus hooks, and synthesizer lines reminiscent of The Cars. There isn't bad track on this record! Key tracks: Metiare, Good To Me, Tiny Spark.
"Tiny Spark" Music Video:
The Promise Ring - Nothing Feels Good - 1997 - Jade Tree
A summer album of mine for 10+ years now. One of my favorite albums of all time Nothing Feels Good is playful, jumpy and has a youthful energy. The bass lines and fuzzy guitars drive the sound. Davey Von Bohlen is a hell of a songwriter and his excitement shines through on this record. I've gone through 3 copies of this album on cd because I listen to it to absolute destruction. I finally caved and bought a copy on vinyl last year.
"Why Did We Ever Meet" Music Video:
Grateful Dead - American Beauty - 1970 - Warner Bros.
I got into Grateful Dead two years ago, when I head to learn Sugar Magnolia for a wedding. After having to learn the song I immediately gained a respect for the Grateful Dead. I'm certainly not a dead head, and I don't have the patience for jam bands. I happen to think that American Beauty is just a fantastic piece of music from start to finish and a great road trip album that has some really classic tracks, is easy to sing along to, and has a very uplifting vibe. When I hear this record, I hear what a lot of modern folk/rock and country/rock bands are emulating, it could be accidental, but it's just as genuine. This is one of those albums that each time I listen to it I have a new favorite song. This week I really dig, Till the Morning Comes which sounds like it could just as well be a Wilco song. Other key tracks: Sugar Magnolia, Candyman, Truckin.
Bob Dylan - Nashville Skyline - 1969 - Columbia
This album is either a hit or miss with listeners. It's been regarded as a record featuring Dylan's new voice, which is more of a lovelorn croon than his typical 60s cigarette soaked rhymes. Recorded in Nashville, the album has a very country feel. Lots of steel guitar, heartfelt lyrics, and space give the atmosphere of an unpaved road in August. Key tracks: Lay Lady Lay, Tonight I'll be Staying Here With You.
"Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You":
Eric Nordby is Marmoset Music's Project Manager and Music Licensing Ninja